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It is independence day in Nigeria. The roads and streets, except for few buses plying town services and people in small clusters discussing, are devoid of the daily bustles. There are no school children in neatly ironed uniforms returning from parades with the Nigerian flag fluttering in their white-gloved hands. Zaria is seldom this quiet even on public holidays. This could have been attributed to the delayed resumption of schools to check the spread of the seemingly curbed ebola; or as a friend frankly said, is no more than the insecurity dragging the country to a dreaded pit. The independence day, like most holidays have turned in Nigeria, is solitary, desolate as if it’s not safe to be independent.
Nigeria may not be beyond 2015. I did not propound this. Some pundits in America who have become experts in analyzing countries like Nigeria did. They gawk at these countries from computer screens in lush offices, pulling strings from bits of news and pictures of gory scenes of bomb blasts, then drawing up conclusions using ideologies to predict possible outbreak of civil wars, disintegration or upsurge of uprisings in these countries as the case may be. While these theories may have been too hasty to determine a country’s fate, our dwindling institutions and listlessness often make them cogent. And so with empirical validity, these theories become instruments for measuring the longevity of a country.
Like a bunch of fulfilled scientists with the Noble prize for discovering electricity, these pundits, our acts seem to show, may be placed on the world map for predicting our disintegration. Take the politicians for example. They sway with pride, grateful for an almost completed rewarding tenure, preparing to either re-contest or aspire for higher political offices. They have watched the country, as bewildered toddlers would watch their playing toys, fall apart from missing bolts. In the absence of industries that would churn out products produced by able bodied men and women, we now have a country of sects that churn out monsters who, as half-bred monsters with missing heads, would frenziedly crush down anything that cross their ways. Unsurprisingly, those who have managed to duck the sledgehammers of these crushers often express their gratitude to God on the social media and then raise insults on the generation of the ethnic and religious sects of the people perceived to be the same with the monsters’. This carnage drags the opposition (with misplaced priority) and the clueless government into blame games, widening the disparity between rich people’s fun and poor people’s desperation.
Ours is a nation with Churches and Mosques on every corner of the streets, deafening amplifiers dangling from their rooftops. One would, therefore, be glad to have set of clergies who would preach peace to gullible citizens who already have renounced their earthly rights for heavenly rewards and sense to the delirious politicians who are so confused about life and its principles, but all we have are mere political clergies. There are messages of contempt and comfort everywhere. The poor have been admonished to stage reprisals in the event of an attack for the days of waiting on the Lord are all gone, but must always pray for their leaders. These leaders are Lord’s chosen, sermons imply, and must be blessed with prayers so they grow in knowledge and in life. The politicians are invited to build big houses for the Lord and fatten His purse. Nothing erodes away sins, our desperate preachers make it seem, like building worship houses for the Lord, regardless of how the citizens are starved because of those sins.
Our tribal divides and our religious preferences have placed us and our politics in the hands of a few rogues who now threaten us on cheap media publicity with who becomes what, when and how. They rant all sorts of doom that would befall the country in the event of anything contrary. And so our pundits in America don’t need the skills of bringing down the stars before predicting worse for the country. Any sensible person should find it senseless that a country that has fallen into such disarray, of complexities and melodrama, will see beyond five decades.
By the predictions of some and the wish of others, this might be the last independence Nigeria will celebrate as a country. It’s the 54th and not quite a memorable one. The lenses of so many are, however, shifting towards Nigeria to see whether the country, during its disintegration, will be apportioned like a well-sliced piece of cake to traditional rulers and clergies representing each tribe and religion; or have it plunged into another civil war that will make our western onlookers scramble for its bits. I grew up hearing people forbidding our falling apart as a nation, and seeing them working towards sealing that resolution. Today, such people are assailed with doubts and wouldn’t yield to the call for a formidable Nigeria by the remaining few hopefuls . This is a bitter reminder that it takes lots of efforts to redeem a dashed hope.
By Olajide A. Omojarabi. Twitter handle @olaomojarabi; blogs at olaomojarabi.blogspot.com
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